Kia Ora and welcome to the Autumn 2020 – and 15th – issue of Line of Defence.
It’s hard to believe that we’re now entering our fifth year of publication – a long time since turning up at the 2015 NZDIA annual forum to drum up advertiser interest armed with just an idea and a cobbled together prospectus in hand.
It presents an opportunity to again acknowledge our friends and supporters, and in particular the NZDIA, NZDF, Defence Minister’s and Opposition Spokesperson’s offices, Massey university’s Centre for Defence and Security Studies, editor-at-large Dr Peter Greener and regular contributors Dr Wayne Mappand Dr John Battersby, and, importantly, our advertising sponsors.
Making this 15th issue of Line of Defence possible is the generous support of our sponsors Leonardo, GA-ASI, Tactical Solutions, Rheinmetall, and Legear (ADA). Without their sponsorship a quarterly New Zealand magazine delivering Defence and National Security news and analysis simply wouldn’t exist.
Headlining this edition of the magazine is Dr Peter Greener’s interview with Defence Secretary Andrew Bridgman. It’s the first time we’ve had a SECDEF talking with DEFSEC! In this interview, the Secretary outlines his priorities and talks First Principles Review, maritime helicopter replacement, international engagement and future challenges.
As the magazine goes to print we are two days out from the 1st anniversary of the Christchurch Mosque Attacks. As the nation stops to pay its respects to the 51 members of our community who were stolen from us by a cowardly, senseless, despicable attack, we take stock 12 months on.
Among our analysis, Dr John Battersby assesses the efficacy of the gun buy-back scheme, Dr Richard Shortt provides his perspectives on violent extremism and New Zealand’s changed threat landscape, and I explore the soon-to-be officially released document Protecting Our Crowded Places from attack: New Zealand’s Strategy.
The great black swan national security challenge so far in 2020 is the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has – and will have – consequences for New Zealand and the world that extend well beyond its public health dimensions.
Our COVID-19 coverage includes perspectives from Mark Mitchell on the role of Whangaparaoa and a modern defence estate in pandemic response, Dr Wayne Mapp reflects on the possible role of the Defence Force in a major pandemic emergency, and Laura Toplis offers timely business continuity planning advice.
Coronavirus aside, 2020 has already seen the NZDF, emergency services agencies and first responders deploying in the face of major natural disasters. Ron Mark provides his thoughts on the part the NZDF has played in the Australian bushfire response, the White Island/Whakaari recovery and the Southland flooding evacuation.
I commend the above articles to you, along with the many fine contributions inside that I’ve simply ran out of space to mention in this all too brief editor’s note.